Final preparations are underway at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Doors open Thursday and vendors are optimistic there will be large crowds.
“I just get energized just looking at the place,” said Giggles’ Campfire Grill owner Tim Weiss. “It’s really, really good to be back.”
After the Great Minnesota Get-Together was canceled in 2020, more than 1.3 million people attended the fair in 2021. Attendance exceeded 2 million people in 2019.
“Hopefully we’ll have a banner year,” Weiss said. “We have over 15,000 pounds of fish that we hope to sell.”
He typically has a staff of around 250 who work to service the queues of fair-goers who congregate at his building on the corner of Lee Ave. and Cooper St. in The North Woods.
Although they anticipate larger crowds this year, staffing issues that began during the pandemic persist. They currently have around 210 employees.
“Staffing has been an absolute nightmare this year,” Weiss said. “I just think people are going to have to work harder and longer.”
Weiss told us they won’t slow down even if they don’t hit their hiring goal.
“We have 12 days to make a living here, and we’re going to have to do whatever it takes,” he said. ” We are well. You know what, everyone who comes to the Great Minnesota Get-Together is going to have a great time, a great experience.
The Minnesota State Fair is also looking to fill about 270 positions. A spokesperson said they typically employ around 2,700 staff throughout the summer. The remaining open jobs include sanitation, parking and park and ride attendants.
A spokesperson for the Minnesota State Fair told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “2,700 was our optimal number, but we are confident that we can fill all the vacant slots with the great people we have already hired.
Stone and Steel Design owner Brian Rosen is showing his stone engraving at the fair for the first time this year. Rosen’s 73-year-old retired mother helps her in her store.
“I’ve been shorthanded for the past two years; it’s hard to find help,” he said. “My daughter will be here the first full week. We don’t know what to expect. »
He explained that his team was working 24/7 to prepare.
“It doesn’t all start here. It starts with loading trailers, all kinds of stuff at the store,” Rosen said. “I have people in the workshop working right now on engraving some last minute stones.”
He carves images and words into small and large rocks. Rosen’s work includes gifts, house markers and pet memorials.
“For the past few years, we’ve carved the bricks that you see here everywhere near the grandstand,” Rosen said.
It shares its room with Tonka Bay Fountains. Both owners hope their hard work pays off when the streets fill with people.
“We have high expectations that we’re going to get a good amount of business,” said Scott Estrem, owner of Tonka Bay Fountains. “I hope to get a year of commissioned work, commissioned artwork.”
Apply here for Minnesota State Fair vacancies.